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Ladd House Student Exhibition Blurs the Lines of Art

Video by Ali Ragan ’16

IMG_3944Filling Ladd House on Thursday evening was a multifarious collection of artwork by 47 students — as well as 450 or so students, staff, faculty and parents (who were on campus for Family Weekend), a student pianist playing mournful tunes in a darkened room, lots of balloons to throw darts at and countless used red plastic cups.

The eclectic scene was the opening night of a student art show, “340 Miles North,” which refers to the distance between Bowdoin and New York City. The new student club Bowdoin Art Society dreamed up the exhibition to “promote the vibrancy of the arts at Bowdoin,” Tom Rosenblatt ’16 explained. “Family Weekend seemed like the perfect time to advertise this to the greater community.”

IMG_3910Part of the show’s intention was to celebrate nontraditional forms of art, or art you might encounter outside a museum or studio. The curatorial mission statement asks, “What are the boundaries between traditional and newer forms of art? Between art and life? Between self-defined artists and people who create yet do not think of their practice as art?”

One of the pieces in the show, “Dampness of Higher Education,” was a collaboration between the Bowdoin Art Society, Bowdoin EcoReps and John Bisbee’s sculpture class. For one month, the EcoReps collected Solo cups from campus parties, which the sculpture students compiled into a temporary installation in the Ladd House basement.

People at the show were encouraged to add their cups to the piece when they had finished their drinks. Approximately 150 people deposited their cups somewhere on the sculpture throughout the night, and their contribution, Rosenblatt said, helped blur the lines of who was the true creator of the installation, following the theme of the show.

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